Tag Archives: Mark Lee

JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM : UPSTAIRS @ BELVOIR STREET

The subject of Steve Rodgers play, adapted from the novel by Peter Goldsworthy, is not Jesus. The subject is family, how devoted we are to it and how we will give everything to it.

Linda and Rick Pollard are a happy couple. They have two children, Ben and the younger child, Wol. Life is going smoothly.

The couple try and protect Ben and Wol from the harsher realities of life. They want them to be ‘bathed’ in love. They even banish the tv from their house as an unnecessary distraction from .the peaceful environment they are determined to live in.

Then one day, their girl Wol takes ill. They take her to the Doctor. The Doc organises a battery of tests. The results come back. Wol has leukaemia.

The perfect Pollard family world is rocked. The family goes into damage control. It isn’t helped when, in one scene, Wol completely ‘loses it’ and  screams out that she doesn’t want to be alone, she doesn’t want to die.

Darren Yap very sensitively directs this production and wins good performances from his cast. Matthew Whittet plays the idealistic  Nick. Liam Nunan is Ben who just wants to see his sister get better. Grace Truman gives a touching performance as Wol.

Valerie Bader doubles up as Grandma and Doctor Eve. Mark Lee plays Grandpa and the local priest.

My performance of the night was Emma Jackson’s as the very gritty, earthy mother, Linda.

Emma Vine’s compact set and costume design worked well as did  Max Lambert’s soundscape, underscoring the action.

A touching, sensitively wrought drama,  JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM plays upstairs at Belvoir Street Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills until Sunday 8th March, 2020.

Featured image : Matthew Whittet and Emma Jackson in ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’. Pic by Brett Boardman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TIME MACHINE: A CLASSIC WORK RESPECTED

Production images: Robert Catto

THE TIME MACHINE is a boys’ own adventure.  Now at the Playhouse, NIDA theatres,  it is written as a one-man play by Frank Gauntlett and based on the novella by HG Wells (1895).  It is of its time and acceptance rather than critique, and a bravura performance, will keep you in your seat.  Growing up, the topic of H Rider Haggard often came up at the dinner table once my father had pushed me to read his favourite writer.  Immersion in the Victorian adventure genre helps, as does an understanding of the roots of science fiction and of speculative writing and it doesn’t hurt to have a vague knowledge of the Utopian ideas that Wells attacks in the novella.    Continue reading THE TIME MACHINE: A CLASSIC WORK RESPECTED

THE SHADOW BOX @ THE OLD FITZ

This play, written by actor Michael Cristoffer, had its premiere on Broadway in March 1977. It went on to win that year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as taking out the Tony Award for Best Play.

Cristoffer’s play cuts deep. Its subject is that old dreaded subject which us humans have so much trouble dealing with – the impermanence of life and its fragility. And of-course, what goes hand in hand with this – the terrible losses that we suffer along the way.

THE SHADOW BOX is well suited to be performed ar such an intimate venue.

The play takes place over twenty four hours, in three separate cottages on the grounds of a large hospital, in the United States. Within the three cabins are three patients – Joe, Brian and Felicity, who are each to live with their respective families at the final stage of their life, as their treatment has been discontinued. Continue reading THE SHADOW BOX @ THE OLD FITZ

PVT WARS @ The Old Fitz

Tom Oakley in PVT Wars. Pic Rupert Reid
Tom Oakley in PVT Wars. Pic Rupert Reid

The Old Fitzroy delivers night owl’s a splendid slice of theatre with a production of PVT WARS by James McLure.

Set in a veteran’s hospital, three physically and psychologically damaged soldiers co-exist in fractious society, a kind of camaraderie held together by the commonality of their confinement after combat.

Continue reading PVT WARS @ The Old Fitz

SCENES FROM AN EXECUTION

Nicole Wineberg, Lucy Miller and Katherine Shearer. Pic Katy Green Loughrey
Nicole Wineberg, Lucy Miller and Katherine Shearer. Pic Katy Green Loughrey

New theatre company Tooth & Sinew’s premiere production of Howard Barker’s SCENES FROM AN EXECUTION lives up to the company’s name.

It’s an apt choice, as Barker’s language is muscular, visceral and a veritable anatomical alphabet.

Our first image is of a female artist sketching a nude male model. Her first words are about buttocks. “Dead men float with their arses in the air.”

Continue reading SCENES FROM AN EXECUTION

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Mark Lee plays Shylock in Steve Hopley's revival of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Mark Lee plays Shylock in Steve Hopley’s revival of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

According to the “Athens” Merchant of Venice website, “Shakespeare and Anti-Semitism: The Question of Shylock,” there are two views on the plays alleged anti-Semitism. First, the text presented strong evidence of Shakespeare’s purpose to portray Shylock as an “inhuman” villain “whose diabolical cunning” was “bent on gratifying a satanic lust for Christian flesh” (Athens 1).

Conversely, many people also feel that the play exposes shortcomings equally in Christians as well as Jews. It could however be surmised that Elizabethan audiences were anti- Semitic. Remember, it was just 300 years earlier, in 1290, when Jewish people were expelled from England

Actor Mark Lee, playing Shylock in the current Sydney Shakespeare Company’s Production asserted that traditionally children were employed to throw fruit at the character and indeed this show doesn’t pull punches. (“Shall we not REVENGE” indeed!) When the moment arrived, a black hood and straight razor reminiscent of some terrorist ritual on a victim strapped to a chair, needed only a camera to be a scene from countless movies on the subject.

On to this production. Considering my high expectations, (THE MERCHANT OF VENICE was my first introduction to Shakespeare in school and like many other dreamers, Shylock the character of choice to play),  and the arduous task of rehearsing around the cast’s working lives,  I was very pleasantly surprised at a very polished and entertaining production.

Special plaudits to Mark Lee for a very finely balanced and tuned Shylock heading an ensemble of talented and creative artists. Noteworthy are Steven Hopley as Lancelot (also happened to direct the production. Don’t you hate inordinately talented people?!), Andrew Thomson as Salerio and the Duke, and Lizzie Schebesta as Portia.

Do yourselves a favour and find your way to this one.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is playing at the Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst until Saturday August 24, 2013.